Black Cake

Black Cake

Thank you, Penguin Random House, for the gifted copy of Black Cake! {partner}

Genre: Fiction
Trope: Multi-Generational Story
Pub Date: 2.1.2022
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5


“In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child, challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage, and themselves.

Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names, can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.


“Sometimes, the stories we don’t tell people about ourselves matter even more than the things we do say.”

What an incredible debut novel! Charmaine Wilkerson should be so proud of herself and the hard work/love that she poured into each chapter of this novel. Black Cake is full of one family’s exploration of their mother’s secrets hidden from them until after her death.

Everything is connected to everything else if you only go far enough back in time.”

I was floored by all of the research and Wilkerson’s characters while telling this story. At first, I was a little overwhelmed — there were a lot of characters to keep track of and different storylines to follow, but as I read more, the easier it became to follow.

Eleanor Bennet’s story is a multi-generational tale that will likely resonate with many immigrants and their families as they struggle to find their footing in a world that could be very unforgiving.

Overall, Black Cake was an incredible debut filled with stories of sorrow, hope, determination, forgiveness, and lots of love. I recommend it to all of you who love an excellent multi-generational tale.

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